The Philosophy of Being Healthy, according to me…

I spend so much time thinking about being healthy and eating well. Literally. All the time.

I’ve come a long way in how I approach food. When I first did WW so many years ago and then did 21 Day Fix last year I literally planned out every bite I would take, what exercise I would do and approached weight loss as a General planning an attack. Even if I did not feel like eating what food I had planned I still had it because that was what “fit” for that day. I analyzed each food for calories, fat, fiber and nutrition. I was so regimented in my eating that I forgot to enjoy food and being social (!) and was pretty miserable.

I have to say I really have come to dislike (okay, hate) the words Rules, Off limits, Diet, and No. To my mind they represent restriction and hardship. Food and eating better should not have to be fraught with all these issues. Food is food, some of it better nutritionally than others but it’s just food. We need food to survive.

Exercise was often engaged in as a “payment” for eating; if I eat this then I have to walk/run/bike etc to balance it. I exercised to the point of being exhausted and sore for days. I have so many videos and all kinds of equipment that I could have a personal gym. We need to move in order to keep our bodies moving well but it doesn’t have to be hard every time.

So, my Philosophies on being healthy.

I’ve come to believe in being Practical and Simple.

No “Rules”. No guilt. No crazy planning.

These are my Guidelines:

* I try to live by the 80/20 principle: if you choose more’nutritionally dense food’ (further said as healthy/healthier)  in both type and portion you can splurge or choose something less healthy the other 20% of the time. Life is about balancing the two.

The same can be said for being active. I used to run, a lot. But it became less fun and injuries occurred and I just kinda stopped doing it. I love to walk (and hike) and I have a really fast pace naturally. I love walking with other people; conversations and sharing ideas happen so easily when you fall into the rhythm of moving. Most of the people I  walk with just are not as fast paced as I am.Just saying, but I am okay with that because I also reap other benefits of relaxation, breathing deeply and just enjoy moving. Could I focus on it not being a ‘high intensity’ workout? Sure, but why? I could force myself to do a HIIT workout and be so sore that I am unable to do it again for several days or I can just enjoy moving. I’ve come to realize that there are so many options to being active that to force myself to endure something I dislike just to burn a few more calories is absurd.

*No guilt about my choices. I could drive myself crazy thinking about every bite of something I ate that might not be the best for me or guilt myself for not exercising for 2 days but it serves no purpose. For most instances I find that guilt backfires: it leads to more of the same and suddenly you just give up and go back to old habits. Instead use it as a learning tool to see where you might change the circumstance (if you can). Most of our “bad habits” are just that–a learned reaction to a stimuli. Stressful situations often lead to just grabbing what is handy instead of a better choice (nutritionally). It happens. Maybe something that can avoid it is to keep a snack (granola bar or similar) in your bag. Super busy? Sneak in moving by taking the stairs, parking farther away or anything that makes you move like walking while you are on the phone.

*Being Prepared is half the Battle! While I no longer plan every bite I do try to food prep every week so I have healthy/ier options available. I cut up veggies, make brown rice and often precook chicken for salads. I make sure I have yogurt available.  Having these  things available helps to avoid choosing the other options that don’t keep me healthier. Helps, but everyone slips up especially when busy or tired.

*Make time to reflect and see the Big Picture. So often we get so caught up in living and working that we forget to have a life. We dream about what we would do ‘if we just had the time and money’ but rarely do anything to get there. I’m learning to simplify and have been getting rid of material possessions that I don’t need to that just add clutter. I feel calmer giving things to people who can benefit from them. I am being much more selective about what I purchase. My husband and I discovered kayaking this summer and started doing a lot of research. For what we want in terms of function and size it will run about $2000 for 2 kayaks, gear, travel stuff and little things. We could have put them on a credit card but we decided to save until next year and decide if it is truly something that will bring us joy and an opportunity to be together (or alone) in Nature or if it is just  a spur of the moment interest. So what does this have to do with being healthy? A tranquil mind often has a trickle down effect into eating well and being active because we are not trying to find a substitute for being happy in either food or drink.

These are my big guidelines. Am I a perfect example of a healthy person? No. Am I making progress? Yes, definitely. One day at a time.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and feelings.

Kindest regards,

Janice

 

 

 

 

Ephiphany

Sometimes one unplanned workout makes the best leaping off point.

I realized yesterday that I was doing the interval runs because I felt that was the next logical step in fitness…but then I realized why it was not working: I don’t have a goal to run a 5K, half or other races. Why was I putting myself into such a funk about running (and not really wanting to) when there are so many other options?

I felt I really needed to do something–anything= to keep myself from becoming inactive…so the treadmill. Ironically, I really enjoyed the “mountain walk” program on the treadmill yesterday because it so resembled my hikes. I LOVE being outside and being in the woods! Granted I am not a hard core hiker but it really is my favorite form of exercise.

So, the point? With so many options for being active, choosing what I love to do makes so much more sense than making myself do what I don’t enjoy and in all likelihood will not continue with.  I’m going to plan on the hiking prep and railtrail walking. If I happen to break into a run (just because it feels right) now and then, so much the better.

Kicking the “old me” down the stairs….

I met the old me in the kitchen today–she was busy cleaning and doing laundry and whatever she could to avoid -err, delay–actually exercising. “I’ll exercise in the afternoon” was the rationale. To tell you the truth, she really annoyed me!! So I kicked her down the stairs to the basement…where the treadmill is. The really weird thing–she liked it down there. I cranked the music up since no one was home to object–heavy on percussion and she just zoned out and it was over before she realized!

Alright, so seriously–despite my good intentions it was just a bit of a mental challenge this morning but I was really glad I was strong enough mentally to see it through and do the right thing–the Smart Choice! I chose a Podrunner called “Restless” at 139 bpm which for me works out to be a 4.0 mph pace. Brief warm up with intro at 3.5 mph/ 2% incline and then got right onto the 4.0 pace, with and without incline. I set the time for 40 minutes but I really did zone out to the beat and movement and honestly lost blocks of time since I was so “in sync” with my body today.

I followed with the abwork, changing it up just a bit. I have to admit it–they were tough today! I felt every crunch-especially #10-25!

So the stats:

Podrunner “Restless” 139 bpm

Treadmill time :40 minutes

Pace 3.5 (warmup ) then 4.0 mph

Incline 0-2%, alternating

Distance 2.653 miles

Caloric burn: 307 (per treadmill)

Ab/core work:

Crunches with ball–1 set 25 reps

Reverse curl with ball–1 set 25 rep

“rope climb”-1 set 25 reps

Standing side bends with weight (10# dumbells)-1 set 25 reps each side

I have to say I can’t wait until Saturday!! I may just walk again in the morning I feel so motivated–going to blow the 100 minutes out of the park!

I won’t be home on Saturday so I am packing my gear including my Forerunner305 which is now fully charged and my ipod nano (the old kind!) so I can stay on top of stats….looking forward to beach walking and around the gorgeous riverfront properties…

See you tomorrow for updates and motivation! ~Janice

 

Countdown to 48

It occurred to me the other day–I have about 5 weeks until I turn 48. Not so old really, but I am using it a motivational goal–to consistently eat better and exercise to enter that year as my healthiest yet.

So starting tomorrow I will be posting daily thoughts and actions on the blog as a “Countdown to 48″….join me by sharing your thoughts on the blog—keep me motivated/ hold me accountable to do this awesome thing: give myself the Gift of Health!

 

I actually started yesterday so I will count it toward my goals……

This week:

Tuesday/ Thursday / Saturday–minimum 30 mintes fast pace walking plus minimum 100 ab repetitions ( combination of 4 @25 rep each)…this should work out to about 100 minutes of exercise this week.

Tuesday–DONE!

I took a pre-work nap and then got up and hit the treadmill:

30 minutes of active time  with a warm up at 3.5 mph/1% incline and then worked at 3.8-4.0 mph/ 0-1% incline.

1.94 miles / 216 caloric burn per machine

Podrunner “Easy Does it” at 139 bpm

 

Abs–with Bender Ball:

crunches with ball under / at base of spine–1 set 25 reps

reverse curls -squeeze ball between knees with ankles crossed–1 set 25 reps

“rope climbs” (Does anyone know the real name?)–lay on back, legs up/feet flat and reach up to outer edge of feet with opposite arm while squeezing ball between feet–1 set 25 reps

obliques–ball under side of ab and do oblique crunches–1 set 25 reps

 

I have to confess–my outer glutes are sore today!!  I also walked a lot at work last night and use  Reebok Easytones as a RN to keep my feet comfortable–double workout!

 

So–motivation and accountability are welcome. Feel free to offer advice, suggestions and thoughts!! I’ll try to get some pictures done so you can see the progress and results!! ~Janice

Smart Choice Method: Guideline #4–Eat Food you like!

The  way to stay motivated about eating right is to eat the things you enjoy!

I mean it–really! who in their right minds would stay on a food plan (aka diet) that restricts you from the things you like and makes you eat strange food and sometimes weird food combinations that you don’t enjoy? I know I would not last long at all.  I think that may be the main reason that I don’t identify my eating plan with any one “diet”–I think they all have good points but are too restrictive for most people.  One thing to remember: this is MY understanding and perception of how nutrition works.  I’ve been looking at “nutrition” for a long time and have seen fads come and go, most of which make no sense in hindsight.

Our bodies are meant to be balanced with carbohydrates, proteins and fats along with fluids.  When we eliminate anyone one group or focus on any one ‘nutrient’ or ingredient it throws things out of balance. We needs carbohydrates for immediate energy, its the easiest source our bodies have. Yes, our bodies store the excess unused energy in our muscles and as fat but its a little harder to get easy access to. Protein is a great source of repair for our muscles but doesn’t really offer a quick way to get energized and sometimes slows down other bodily functions because it takes longer to break down and digest. Fat is great for neurological function, healthy hair and nails but also has its negative effects when the harmful fats are out of balance.  When we balance these out in the right proportions our bodies can do more than we ask of it!

#healthy snacks#smartchoiceshealthyliving.comBut I digress, the point is that if I told you that in order to lose weight you can only eat vegetables–and no forms of protein- for the next two weeks you just might be able to do it. Maybe. But are you learning how to properly supply nutrition to your body? I think if I were to say, ok–you can also have some protein( peanut/ nut butters, eggs, cheese, hummus) that you would be able to last a bit longer.  But are you happy with these limitations? Not for a long term way of eating, not for good! By being so drastic with something that should be giving us both nourishment and pleasure we’ve already created an major road block.

Guideline #4: Eating should be fun and enjoyable.

There are so many healthy and good tasting foods –and ways to make them so they are enhanced– that you should never have to be bored with eating! You can take the most mundane foods–say broccoli, carrots and cauliflower and add a little olive oil and spices and roast them in the oven–they are totally changed in character and taste than when they went in the oven!

#roasted vegetables

Vegetables roasted in the oven with a little olive oil and spices–delicious!

There is truly no reason to eat something you dislike! There are multiple options when you eat healthy. There are some foods that no matter what you do to them I still have no interest in them. That is ok though–find something else that gives you similar nutrition and you are back to being balanced. My daughter has become a vegetarian and has no interest in animal protein–I am fine with that so long as she eats food that will give her the things she needs to maintain her health; she eats nut butters, eggs, yogurt and occasionally tofu.  She does not like dairy milk so she has almond milk instead.

Eating Healthy

One of the nice things with her becoming a vegetarian is that I have also learned alot more about “alternate” nutrition sources and we’ve found many recipes that we can share or alter to fit our needs. Cooking does not require a fancy degree or education, just a willingness to try something new and be open to options. I can tell you not all of our recipes have been winners–some because of personal taste preferences and some just because they are not something we are willing to make again but by being open to things I’ve found a whole new world of food choices. Grains are a huge untapped source of nutrition most of us never even think of: quinoa, wheat berries, lentils, and barley just to name a few.

So the point: find things you do like to eat and make them a part of your plan. Don’t eat the things you don’t like but  find alternates to replace them. Easy as that.  Eat real food, not food products. Learn what food tastes like in its most natural state and you’ll understand better how to improve on it. Eat what you need to keep your body functioning, not eat to excess.

Have you been eating food you enjoy or just food to survive? Do you abide by ‘the rules of your diet’ or do you “cheat” because they are restrictive? Are you eating for Life and making Smart Choices?

 

Image Disclaimer: the food images are my own but the first and last image were obtained on Google Images, my thanks to their creators!

Smart Choices, Healthy Living….will return tomorrow

Pardon for the delay this week in posting. Hurricane Sandy put a slight dent in my plans. No we did not lose power or have dramatic damage done to our home. Mine is more of a personal nature–I had a minor surgical procedure planned for Monday which got cancelled by the hospital for safety reasons. I did have the procedure but on Thursday so I am just a bit behind in posting.

Guideline #4 and some reflections about being a woman tomorrow. Thanks for your patience!!~Janice

The Smart Choice Method of Healthy Living

I’ve always believed that it is not the person with the loudest voice that gets heard, but the one who quietly shows others by example.  The person who lives what they say actually speaks the loudest of all.

I’ve really been focusing on living healthy, not dieting, for the last 8 months or so. I’ve developed my own eating plan, not liking any one “diet plan” enough to ‘name’ my way of eating. Its a kinda  “modified clean eating- almost vegetarian-make ahead-portion aware-no rules” way to eat. I guess the biggest thing is that I don’t like absolute rules for eating  because rules lead to cheating and cheating leads to guilt.  Confusing maybe, but its been working for me.

I had someone ask me this morning “where to find my diet plan” since she decided she needs to lose weight.  She had overheard a conversation where another person had asked me how much weight I had lost and I had to reply I didn’t know, I had been focusing on eating healthier and lost the weight as a ‘side effect/benefit’. When questioned further I emphasized I had cut out processed foods and focused on fresh foods, pretty much the basis of my focus.

As we talked this morning it got me to thinking and I offered a few quick pieces of advice to get her started but it made me evaluate my own Guidelines for Healthy Eating…..and I started working on this blog–only to find I had way too much to say for one blog. So, this will actually develop into a series of posts about how I’ve gotten more healthy and lost weight along the way.

Lets call it  The Smart Choice Method of Healthy Living. Each of the next posts will focus on and explain one of these things that has guided my sustainable healthy life.

 

I exercised …but I didn’t like it

There are just times you know you are not going to have a great work out but you talk yourself into it anyways…..yesterday was one of those days!

My daughter and her boyfriend wanted to go tot he gym after school and I said I would take them, even though I didn’t feel like going. Well it makes no sense to go to the gym and not do anything, right? SO I got dressed and hopped on the treadmill–the kicker? I left my ipod at home on the charger but I had the headphones …into the TV it was (I watched House). Not even 5 minutes into the walk my foot started to kill me–I have this issue with my ‘big toe joint’ on my left foot (it isn’t gout, or a fracture or anything we/I can figure out) and I toughed it out for 22 minutes and decided it was enough. I switched over to the recumbent bike for another 15 minutes (my daughter was done).

Am I glad I went? Yes. Would I do it again that way–I am really not sure. I do believe in pushing your body a bit but to exercise in pain? Yea I don’t think so– on those days I think I would stick to the bike and weights.

Thoughts? Do you exercise in pain or push yourself when you mentally are not in the mood for exercise?

What are your ‘talk yourself into it’  conversations like?

Yardwork kicks butt!

Well it does! Just ask anyone who works outside, whether a job or ‘hobby’–yard work IS exercise!

Yesterday I just couldn’t figure out what video I wanted to do and then it dawned on me: why am I exercising inside when it was nice outside? (Plus then the dog gets exercise too) I need to clear an area in my yard big enough to transplant a whole flower bed or two and had decided earlier in the year to move it to the area by my bird feeder. At that point I moved all the flat stones I had used for a bed I had torn apart last fall to get a perimeter to work on.

OK–so this was the Spring–its grown alot since then–I mean really alot–some of the wild flowers and weeds are over 3 feet tall. So this has been my project to remove it all and add soil to raise the bed up higher. I don’t have a working rototiller so this has all been done with either hand tools (like a ‘Garden Claw”) or just pulling them by hand and carting it away in a wheelbarrow.

                                                                                   It is hard, sweaty work!

But I digress–so for 45 minutes in the heat and humidity I pulled weeds, tilled and carted. It is about halfway done, thankfully!  I have to say when I plugged it into MapMy Run I was pleasantly surprised–I had burned approximately 279 calories! I can verify I was sweating and my heart rate was up (I had on my monitor) in the 130s so I know I was working hard–but just knowing I had burned off that much will make me more apt to do it again.

Just for a quick comparison–these calorie burns are based on a 30 minute time frame for someone weighing about 150 lbs–kinda cool, huh?

So tell me again, still think “yard work” doesn’t burn enough calories? My loose shorts beg to differ.

9/5/12– Cardio and Core

Today was definitely a sweaty day! There is just something satisfying about getting sweaty; knowing you are making enough energy within that it shows up on the outside!

I was on my own (unless you count the animals) since school started back up here today and the hubby was at work. What to do with myself? Aside from cleaning that is. Treadmill, bike, or video?

I chose the bike. I really do like our recumbent bike. It is very comfortable and sturdy. It is totally non-electric meaning you can’t cheat–if you don’t pedal it does not stay powered up and record your workout…I like feedback so I keep pedaling.

Today’s Stats:

Cardio

Time–45 minutes

Program–started with the “interval 2” setting but decided to try the “plateau” one–definitely not ready for that one yet–RL escalates quickly to a level 7! Returned to interval 2 after about 5 minutes .

Music–Podrunner BPM 132 “Everybody  skips”

Avg speed-15.5-16.5 mph

RL–3-4

Distance 12.0 miles

Caloric burn–190 cals

THR (training heart rate) range=112-138

AHR (average heart rate)  130s

RPE (rate percieved exertion)-5-6/10

Let me tell you I wanted to stop several times but you know what stopped me? Sweating!

Just the fact that there was a fine sheen of sweat on my arms and legs kept me going. Yea, I know its weird but you had to be there I guess.

Core:

I used a “Bender ball”.  It adds to your ROM (range of motion) and allows a crunch to include a back extension.  You can use a kids play ball but I’ve had this one for a while.

Crunches/ extensions–1 set 25 reps (the last 10 were hard!) (ball is behind your lower back)

Reverse curl –1 st 25 reps (ball goes between raised knees and you squeeze the ball while doing the curl)

“Toe reaches” 1 set 25 reps (legs raised and straight with ball between feet and squeezed while using opposite arm/hand to reach to outside of foot)

Needless to say, my abs are a little out of shape but once I get back into my routine….they won’t be!

SO–critique, comments, advice?